Note­book step­son left be­hind re­veals love for an­other man

The Progress-Index - - AMUSEMENTS - Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.Dear­Abby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY: My step­son “Arnold” re­cently moved out, and I found a note­book he left be­hind that I thought I’d use. In­side was a jour­nal en­try he had made last year about some­one he loved. The prob­lem is, it’s di­rected to an­other man.

I want to be­lieve that’s not true, but the writ­ing and ev­ery­thing else checks out. I wish I had never seen it. We’re a Chris­tian fam­ily and have con­ser­va­tive views. Arnold never dated much, but we thought it was be­cause he was so fo­cused on his ed­u­ca­tion. None of us would have ever ex­pected this. There were no signs what­so­ever.

I feel such a bur­den right now. I know why he wouldn’t tell his par­ents. His dad would be dev­as­tated. I never keep any­thing from my hus­band, and I feel ter­ri­ble not be­ing able to share this. But I don’t want to re­veal what I saw if my step­son isn’t ready. What should I do? Should I ask Arnold about it? How can I take this bur­den off my shoul­ders? — STRESSED IN THE WEST

DEAR STRESSED: I am a firm be­liever in com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Re­turn the note­book to Arnold, and when you do, use it as an op­por­tu­nity to open a con­ver­sa­tion with him about it. I do not think you should un­bur­den your­self to your hus­band. The per­son to “out” Arnold should be Arnold.

DEAR ABBY: I re­con­nected with a guy from high school five months ago. We started hang­ing out and even­tu­ally de­cided to start dat­ing. The first month or so was great, but right away he started be­com­ing very pos­ses­sive and jeal­ous.

It has been four months, and he is con­stantly ac­cus­ing me of be­ing sneaky and cheat­ing. Abby, all I do is work and go home. I don’t have a so­cial life any­more be­cause he doesn’t trust me to go any­where alone. I can’t even talk on the phone to one of my girl­friends with­out him ask­ing me a mil­lion and one ques­tions. My friends and fam­ily tell me I need to do what’s best for me and leave him, but I’m not sure if I’m scared to leave him be­cause I’ll be alone, or if I’m just scared of him. —

ON THE EDGE IN OHIO

DEAR ON THE EDGE: Your “guy from high school” is do­ing his best to iso­late you. This is one of the warn­ing signs of an abuser. If you are afraid to leave him be­cause you don’t want to be alone, please con­sider how alone you are feel­ing right now.

If you are afraid he will hurt you, call the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line at (800) 799-7233 for sug­ges­tions on how to leave safely. If you need moral sup­port when you de­liver the mes­sage, have fam­ily mem­bers or sev­eral friends with you when you do it. Then block him from your so­cial me­dia and cell­phone. And if he threat­ens you in any way, file a po­lice re­port. The only thing you should NOT do is noth­ing.

DEAR ABBY: At what age is it in­ap­pro­pri­ate for an un­cle to cud­dle his niece? She’s in fifth grade. I don’t do any­thing ex­cept put my arm around her while sit­ting on the couch. She still likes it, but when should I stop this ac­tiv­ity with her? — WON­DER­ING IN THE SOUTH

DEAR WON­DER­ING: I don’t re­gard an un­cle putting his arm around his niece to show af­fec­tion as “cud­dling.” How­ever, the age when the dis­plays of af­fec­tion should be cur­tailed is when the girl is phys­i­cally ma­ture enough that it makes ei­ther her or her un­cle un­com­fort­able.

Jeanne Phillips

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